I heard Christmas music on the radio today. Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving Thursday. Preschoolers are being taught songs about wanting to go to college. Students graduate from college and expect to move up to the top of the corporate ladder in five years. Since when did we become a society living in fast forward?
I can’t help but get a little sad when I stop and think about how much we miss when we’re constantly looking ahead. We blink and another glorious day has passed us by. I’m 100% guilty of it myself. I’m constantly playing the “what if” game and dreaming about the next big adventure. I thrive on efficiency and find myself racing to the finish to check off the task instead of enjoying the process.
I realized that it has become so ingrained in my nature to move so quickly that I often miss out on the beauty of the present. I get so focused on tomorrow that I don’t appreciate today.
I see this fast forward mentality so often working with young professionals. Financial Analysts want to move into an Associate role after crunching numbers for two years. They want to be the “deal guy/girl” and think they deserve it. They think it’s their turn to make the big bucks. Instead of making the best of their current situation and appreciating the opportunity, they are racing to get ahead. In reality, if they put their heads down and worked hard to learn as much as possible from their more experienced colleagues, they would move up without even trying. By simply focusing on the task at hand and adding value in their current role they would develop trust with their superiors, who in turn would take notice and provide rewards.
Now I’m not advising anyone to stop thinking about the future. Short and long term goals are vital to keeping us motivated to move forward and achieve great things. But once we set these goals we should focus on the present in order to work towards them. We should appreciate every day by rejoicing in the wins and learning from the losses.
So today I’m making a conscience effort to stop my racing mind. Call it an early New Year’s Resolution (okay so this may be a long process). I turned off the Christmas music and thought about Thanksgiving. I’ve decided to focus on presence and patience while working towards my goals. It’s only been a few hours, but I feel so much peace and joy.